I work at Merriconeag. I drive home every day wondering why more people don't try to send their children to this school. It is a uniquely wonderful place. The faculty care so much about each child.
We have 3 children at this amazing Steiner school! Our eldest is entering 11 grade at the High School, our second child in 8th grade and our youngest just about to begin 6th grade. We love the community of parents staff, faculty and the curriculum. Since each of our children began in the Nursery & Kindergarten here, we have learned how to become compassionate & loving parents with healthy boundaries, routines & rhythms...that continue to evolve as our children grow into their teens and young adult years.. I
People who support Waldorf ascribe to an unquestioning belief in the "teachings" of Rudolf Steiner. They are passionate! Hopefully, you'll get a great teacher. Otherwise, you're child is stuck from 1st grade 'til 8th. There is only the "Board" to talk to - mysterious, apparently made up of other teachers - no principal, not easy to voice concerns and see results. Your child must dress and eat according to acceptable guidelines. If you don't conform your family is ostracized. Too much parent involvement! "Therapy Sessions" is how one parent we know describes "parent evenings." The EC was more diverse in our experience - much more cultish and rigid later. If your child has special needs, class sizes are enormous and the special kids are left to flounder with one teacher to manage the group. They are suing people who leave the school for legitimate reasons, so don't sign a contract!
Our children have attended Merriconeag for 12 years. I can't say enough good things about this experience, for our kids and for our family. Is it perfect - no. Has it been entirely smooth - no. Have I ever regretted our choice and would I prefer our children attend another school - definitely no. In our 12 years I have never seen a more dedicated, caring and capable group of teachers, that continue to work with families and students to get it right. I wish every child could have the benefit of a Waldorf education, one like at Merriconeag, as it truly meets each child exactly where they are, and supports them in becoming the people we know they are destined to be. From one very happy and involved Merriconeag parent.
We've been at MWS for 13 years. Just today one of our teenagers asked if we wished we'd spent our money on things other than Waldorf education for them. Absolutely not. And, we are doing this for reasons greater than our own children's benefit: We are committed to the principles behind the education. If you are looking for a school which holds as a central goal the education of independent thinkers capable of really changing the world - this is the place. To be sure MWS is a REAL community, which means it has flaws. I will choose a real, working, growing, learning community over a "perfect" one any day.
Politics amongst the admin is full of egos, an inability to take meaningful action, and rarely holds each other accountable in support of an individual family. A large part of the delivery of a Waldorf education depends on the teacher's ability to meet each child's needs with sensitivity and support (including supporting the parents). If u have bullying concerns or other problem(s),it's difficult to feel heard at Merriconeag without entering a series of meetings where, if offered, solutions are vague and dismissive, or the responsibility is left up to the parent to back off, pay for extra tutoring, Eurythmy, Speech, etc. The admin. is often not very supportive, and as a result, families leave disappointed, for multiple reasons. Unfortunaltely, the delivery of a quality Waldorf education is being compromised at this school. If you can handle the politics, dishonesty, & volunteering, welcome & enjoy!
My children have been at Merriconeag for 9 years. It has been an extraordinary experience, not just for our children but for our family as a whole. The beauty of the education is that is gives kids a strong sense of themselves and an ability to receive information from a broad perpective. The curriculum is so rich and fluid and though the children are challenged, they are also geuinely supported as they move through the grades. The high school education at Merriconeag has been a revelation. It is a curriculum and sense of team building than no other high school can offer! Our family has also found a strong sense of community and friendship and a sense that every child and every family matters.
My children have attended the Merriconeag Waldorf School from nursery school on. They are now in the high school and the middle school. Over all, their experience has been really good. Their teachers have shown them much love and support and have been almost as second parents to them. The rapport between students and teachers is friendly, open and warm. The children have been educated to use their hands as well as their minds. Arts, music, chorus, languages, mathematics... all are taught in an artistic, thoughtful way.
It was undisciplinary and supplied very low support. I am dissapointed with this school.
One must keep in mind there is no perfect school or style of learning. Our experience with Waldorf education thus far has been wonderful and enlightening. Every family is encouraged to be a part of the 'community' and the school would not be if not for all the volunteers that step forward throughout the year and get involved in our unique celebrations, festivals, and activities. The adults have plenty of fun too planning and executing The Fall Fair, and our themed spring auction every year. Classroom participation and rate of involvement depends on the teacher and her needs. Waldorf teachers make a connection with each child and with the group that is unique to the style of Waldorf education, especially since the child forms a bond with that teacher and group that is built over the 8 years. We are committed to the new high school too and meeting those new teachers!
Words from a parent of a former student: A great school for the average to above average child provided the teacher and class are a good match for your son or daughter. If your child has any learning disabilities, look for private tutoring or the public school. Parents are not welcomed into the classroom, but are active in fundraising and larger school activities. A lovely, nurturing approach to education, but definately not for every child. Our extremely bright high school graduate (top 10% of class/800 SATs) does not reflect fondly on the 5 years at Merriconeag. Memories of favoritism and elitism predominate.
The Merriconeag Waldorf School concentrates on making a great environment for children to grow at a natural pace. It exercises and teaches just what children can take in for each year of development. The very committed teachers at the school are true to the Waldorf philosophy and result of a teachers staying with a class through all the grades (1-8) forms the most amazing bonds and a heart felt love of learning. My kids love to go to school in the morning, Nate Morse
We have three children attending MWS and cannot say enough amazing and wonderful things about the school. I feel that if a parent could wish for any schooling experience for their child it would be this one. Every aspect of the schooling experience is thought through very carefully to ensure the best experience for each child ... not just 'the children.' The best way and I feel the only way to understand the school is to visit. Many of the approaches appear to be quite counter intuitive but all make sense when you see the school in action.
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